By Nelson S. Badilla
Peter Lim charged; De Lima refuses to enter plea
The Northern Police District (NPD) arrested seven alleged pushers who yielded P12.650 million worth of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu in two police operations in Manila and Caloocan City yesterday.
NPD director Chief Supt. Gregorio Lim identified the suspects in the first operation as Girlie Lopez and Leah Carpio, both residents of New Antipolo Street in Barangay 217 in Tondo, Manila where they were arrested at around 2 a.m.
Two cops acted as poseur-buyers of P5,000 worth of shabu from the suspects. A search of their house yielded 950 grams of shabu worth P6.5 million.
In the second NPD operation held at 3:30 a.m., Lim said the DDEU operatives captured Peter Mamangon, Philip Mamangon, Lowie Espiritu and Reynaldo Lusterior Jr.
850 grams more
They were nabbed in a drug sting conducted in Libis Baesa, Barangay 160 in Caloocan City.
The purchase was only for 2.5 grams of shabu worth P5,000 but the suspects yielded 850 grams more, with a street value of P6,1500.
Caloocan policemen earlier nabbed nine suspected drug personalities in Quezon City and Caloocan City, including a minor being used as a drug courier.
Those who were arrested in Quezon City at 5 p.m. were Michelle Sison, Alladin Almario, Marcelo Sison and John Rogie Ramones.
They were collared in a buy-bust operation headed by Senior Insp. John David Chua at Unang Sigaw in Quezon City.
Three alleged users identified as Enrico Puno, Marvin James Bustamante and Adrian Bustamante were also arrested while playing cara y cruz. When frisked, Chua’s group seized three sachets of shabu.
P7-B shabu missing
Meanwhile, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) received intelligence report that aside from the P6.4 billion of pure shabu confiscated at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) Terminal last Tuesday, about P7 billion more of the drug may have entered the country.
A tipster told PDEA that the same magnetic lifters used in the MICP shabu smuggling had been sighted at a warehouse in Cavite. A PDEA team sent to the warehouse confirmed the traces of shabu in the magnetic lifters through the use of drug-sniffing dogs.
PDEA public information office director Derrick Carreon confirmed the big amount of shabu now being tracked by the agency. At least 19 persons are being hunted by the agency regarding the drug smuggling.
Also yesterday, the Department of Justice (DoJ) ordered the filing of drug charges against Cebu businessman Peter Lim based on testimonies gathered during congressional hearings on the drug trade being controlled inside the New Bilibid Prison.
A DoJ panel of prosecutors insisted that the “conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading is a distinct offense under the Comprehensive Drugs Act of 2002 and that the agreement to trade in drugs is the gravamen of the offense. The drugs themselves as corpus delicti of drug trading are not essential under Section 26(b) of the law.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Leila de Lima yesterday refused to enter a plea during yesterday’s arraignment on the second drug-related charges she is facing before a Muntinlupa City court.
During the hearing, De Lima claimed the charge against her before the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 205 was “pure invention.”
The case stemmed from the complaint filed by former National Bureau of Investigation Deputy Director Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala against the senator for her alleged involvement in the illegal drugs trade at the NBP during her incumbency as justice secretary.
Also indicted along with De Lima were her former driver-bodyguard and estranged lover Ronnie Dayan, former Bureau of Corrections Director-General Franklin Jesus Bucayu, former BuCor OIC and NBI deputy director Rafael Ragos and Joenel Sanchez.
PDEA hunting 19 persons behind pure meth smuggling.
Ragos, in his affidavit and testimony before the House of Representatives, claimed he delivered P10 million to De Lima and Ronnie Dayan in separate occasions, some even at the senator’s residence at South Bay Village in Paranaque, from 2012 to 2012.
He claimed that most of the funds came from convicted drug lord Peter Co and were used to finance De Lima’s senatorial bid.
With Mario Mallari